John Corbett won over audiences playing Aidan Shaw, the down-to-earth boyfriend of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City,” and fans were ecstatic when he returned for the second season of “And Just Like That…”
Before he became an actor, Corbett grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, with his mother and stepfather.
While there, he got his first taste of the entertainment world helping out at his uncle’s club, where he first became interested in guitar. He watched country greats like Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings perform, and eventually his mom bought him his first guitar.
“My mom bought me a pawn shop cheapy guitar, you know, the kind with the strings six inches off of the fretboard, and Bob [his friend] would teach me some chords. I guess I was about 7 or 8 when I learned to play chords,” he told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in 2011.
Corbett didn’t stay focused on a music career and later moved to Southern California to be with his father, working in a steel plant.
“I wanted to believe there was something else out there for me, something I was meant to do. But I had no idea what it was,” he said in an essay in Guideposts in 2017.
“Then, one day some pipes came off the assembly line and hit me in the back. Next thing I knew, I was on disability, walking with a cane, popping painkillers.”
After the injury, he enrolled in community college at his father’s suggestion. It’s where he met some friends who invited him to an improv class.
“I’ve always been a guy that made my friends laugh, a class clown,” Corbett told The New York Times last month. “I saw 30 other people just like me in there.”
He later switched his focus and enrolled as an acting student, taking classes in fighting and ballet. He was immediately hooked on performing.
“It’s kind of like drugs,” he said. “You’re chasing that first high.”
Before his first credited gig on an episode of “The Wonder Years,” Corbett supported himself as a hairdresser, telling the Riverfront Times he was licensed in 1986 and joking that “you have to admit I still have pretty great hair. In fact, a lot of people think I must wear a wig.”
At almost 30, Corbett got his first big break, landing the role of Chris Stevens, the free-spirited DJ on the CBS series “Northern Exposure.”
It was his first taste of fame, and he admitted he struggled with people focusing on his looks and height. He stands 6 feet, 5 inches tall.
“I was the hunky guy, and women would gush,” he told The New York Times. “I don’t think one person has ever come up to me and said, ‘Hey, I think you’re a good actor.’”
Once the series ended, Corbett continued acting in movies like “Volcano” and “Serendipity” before he landed his biggest role as Aidan on “Sex and the City.”
Corbett told The New York Times he initially turned down the part, thinking it was only going to be a guest starring role. But after meeting with creator Michael Patrick King, he changed his mind. According to the outlet, King and Sarah Jessica Parker liked what he brought to the role so much it grew from three episodes to two seasons’ of appearances.
The 62-year-old also told the outlet he can sometimes feel boxed in by his nice boyfriend persona after “Sex and the City” and later “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
“I’ve made friends with the idea of, this is just what I do,” he said. “When the phone rings, and it feels like the money’s right and the place is right, and the time is right, I’ll go be this guy that these people want.”
Corbett did a more recent project for himself, the 2017 film “All Saints,” based on the true story of salesman turned pastor Michael Spurlock. Spurlock was tasked with shutting down a church in a small town near Nashville until a group of refugees from Burma arrive, and he enlists their help in saving the church.
He told Fox News Digital at the time that playing the part “was just like being an altar boy again. I knew where everything was.”
The actor shared that he was an altar boy for seven years and attended Catholic school for 12 years.
“I [was] used to hanging out with priests and going out to dinner [with them]. I used to smoke cigarettes with my priest Father Brown,” Corbett recalled.
“I have a strong belief in God. I flew here from Los Angeles yesterday, and I think I said three to four prayers before I got on the plane for my eternal soul if something happens on the plane.”
He revealed that he had tried being a born-again Christian in the ’80s but ultimately returned to his Catholic roots and described himself as a “gospel and brunch kind of guy.”
“Nothing says ‘I love you, Jesus’ more than gospel music and mashed ‘potaters'” he added.
In addition to his acting career, Corbett also dabbled in country music, releasing two albums — 2006’s “John Corbett” and 2013’s “Leaving Nothin’ Behind.”
“It’s not a new thing,” he told Billboard in 2006 ahead of his debut album. “It’s not like I learned to play the guitar last year and just started writing songs and thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna make a record now.'”
It was during the height of his initial “Sex and the City” fame when Corbett met Bo Derek on a blind date in 2002.
He told People in 2010, eight years into the relationship, he wasn’t as laid back as some of his on-screen characters might suggest.
“I’m an only child. I’m not patient. I’m not a good listener,” he said at the time.
But when he met Derek, he found someone he felt understood him.
“It took somebody with infinite patience and almost zero ego to stick around me longer than three weeks,” he told the outlet.
He also joked they were “too old for soulmates,” noting he was 49 and she was 53 at the time.
“Soulmates is for Romeo and Juliet,” he said. “This is, ‘Hey, I try not to fart too loud in your presence.'”
The couple have been together ever since that first meeting, living along the central coast of California, clearly enjoying each other’s company.
In 2018, they did an interview together with Closer Weekly, during which Corbett said, “After 15 years, we still hold hands; we still have barbecues with friends a couple times a week. [And Bo] still laughs at all my jokes even though she’s heard them a million times. We just enjoy each other. I’m sad when she’s not around.”
Bo, who was previously married to actor-director John Derek until his death in 1998, told Fox News Digital in 2020 she “didn’t expect to end up with anyone again” until she met Corbett.
“It was just an attraction, a comfort,” she said. “He makes me laugh all the time. He’s full of life, full of joy. I became attracted to him, and I still am. We take things day by day, and I think we are still there.
“We’re starting to get a little more settled.”
As far as marriage was concerned, Derek said they saw no need to tie the knot.
“I think when you’re beginning a young family and you’re going to have children and set up this new family tree branch, it’s obviously a wonderful commitment and it’s meaningful,” she said. “But for us in our lives, it hasn’t been yet.”
That changed in 2020, when the couple secretly wed near the end of the year, keeping the news well guarded until Corbett appeared on “The Talk” the following year.
“Jerry, I can’t believe that I forgot to tell you that around Christmastime we got married. Bo and I got married!” Corbett revealed to host Jerry O’Connell.
“We’re pretty private people. We didn’t make an announcement. All our friends and family knew, but this is the first time either one of us has said anything publicly about it because, really, we haven’t had an opportunity. So, you’re my buddy, and now I guess I’m telling all of America, or the world.”
The COVID-19 pandemic factored into their decision after nearly 20 years together.
“After 20 years, we decided to get married. We didn’t want 2020 to be that thing that everybody looks back at and hated,” Corbett said. “We thought, ‘Well, let’s get one nice thing out of it.'”
Fox News Digital’s Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.